CAPE GIRARDEAU -- They said, they couldn't do it. They said, they didn't deserve it. They said… They were wrong.
The number one seeded Charleston Blue Jays put all the doubters to rest Saturday night as they defeated Jackson's Indians 54-44 for the University High School Christmas Tournament crown. This is the 14th time that the Blue Jays have won the trophy in the 57 years of the tournament.
"We wanted to end the year with a trophy, and I can't think of any better way to end it," said Charleston's head coach Danny Farmer. "Coming in, we set a goal of winning this tournament, but we knew that we were going to have to work hard to do it and we did."
In the 2002 program for the tournament, it will read, "Charleston over Jackson" for the fifth time, but the Blue Jays did much more than defeat Jackson.
"Many people didn't believe that we deserved the number one seed, but I just hope this gives us something to build on for the rest of the season," said Farmer. "We now have a lot of momentum and confidence. Hopefully we can carry it over into the second half."
Although the two teams went blow-for-blow in the first period, the Blue Jays dominated the second frame as Lezcano Dean dropped in five points and Kewain Gant knocked down two field goals.
Charleston's defense also played well, as they only allowed six points in the quarter.
At the half, due to the Blue Jays playing team ball and Charleston not allowing the Indians to put the ball in the basket, the Blue Jays held a 26-19 lead.
One of the major problems for Jackson the entire night was their inability to hit free throws.
"We had our chances," said Jackson head coach Michael Kiehne. "We just couldn't get our free throws to fall for us, and we can't expect to win and shoot 6-17 from the line.
"Charleston is a great team. We threw everything we had at them tonight and they took it and kept going. I can't discredit my boys at all because they gave me everything they had, that's just how talented Charleston is," said Kiehne.
Both coaches noted that they hoped their teams could go away from this tournament with a sense of accomplishment.
"We are going to use this to grow on," said Kiehne.
Senior star, and all-tournament team member Jordy Mixon scored 19 points for the Blue Jays, the fewest number he would score all tournament. Charleston would not need any more on the night, however, as Lezcano Dean stepped up and scored 11 and Dontay Clark put in 9.
All-tournament member Tyler McNeely led the Indians with 10 points on the night.
"I want to say thank you to everyone that came out and supported us throughout this tournament," said Coach Farmer.
"Also, I wanted to say that I thought Jackson played very well. The last two nights they have gone down to the wire and we tried to wear them out again tonight. They are a great group of kids with a good coaching staff and I expect to hear a lot more about them later on this season."
Charleston will travel to Sikeston Friday night to take on the Bulldogs while the Indians will go to Poplar Bluff Friday.
The Bulldogs picked up the third place trophy against Oran Saturday in a battle of three-pointers and free throws.
Notre Dame went 19-30 from the charity stripe on the night, while the Eagles could only drop in 12.
One of the main problems for Oran on the night was Notre Dame's Travis Siebert. The sophomore had 21 points on the night, including eight in the fourth quarter. Siebert's four triples on the night also gave the Bulldogs an added boost.
Notre Dame held a one point lead after the first quarter at 10-9 and found themselves up 30-21 at the half. After the half, Notre Dame began to take care of the ball better as they scored 18 in the third and 21 in the final frame to win the hardware.
Junior Ryne Wood led Oran with 16 points and was followed closely by teammate Nathan Seyer who added in 14 to the Eagles' cause.
Friday night Notre Dame will be in action as they host Kelly. The Eagles will not be in action until next Tuesday when they host Zalma.
Even without their hometown star, Eric Henry, the Cubs upset Cape Girardeau for fifth place in the U-High.
"I think Jason Rampley and Luke Phillips had the best games, at least of this season tonight," said Bell City Head Coach David Heeb. "I know that with Eric (Henry) out we have void, but I thought those two really stepped up well for us tonight."
Senior Jason Rampley gave the Cubs a shot at winning as he scored 16 points, nine of which came on threes. Phillips did not score in the contest, but he pulled 13 rebounds on the night for Bell City.
Bell City came out strong on six points from Dominitrix Johnson and on five from both Rampley and Kenyon Wright.
After holding a 34-25 lead at the half, the Cubs continued to put pressure on Cape.
The Cubs scored 19 in both the third and fourth quarters to roll to the easy win.
Sophomore Johnson led all scorers in the game with 24 points and was followed by fellow Cub Carl Hadly who chalked up 22.
The only other two scorers for Bell City were Rampley and Wright who dropped in 16 and 11 respectively.
Jay Raurk led the Tigers in scoring on the night as he put in 16 points along with two threes.
"This is a really good win for us," said Heeb. "I hope that we can get Rampley and Phillips to play every night as hard as they did tonight. If so, and we get Eric (Henry) back soon, we could be a very dangerous ball club."
When asked about the condition of Henry, Heeb responded: "Eric has a calcium build up in his right leg. Its been bothering him for a couple of weeks. Yesterday morning, after the Oran game, he said that he could barely get out of bed. Last night he only played about five minutes because it hurt him, so we are expecting him to be out about a week. I just hope we can have some guys step up and take over while he's gone."
Injuries plagued the Rams Saturday as Chris Bradshaw and Jeremy Schlosser both went out in the first half with injuries. Never the less Scott City went on to defeat Delta for the consolation championship.
The Rams rallied behind 22 from D.J. Walton to slide past the Bobcats.
Delta had its chances in regulation, but simply ran themselves out of time while trying to work time off the clock.
In OT Darren Willey shot four free throws, but only made one. One the final striper, which came with the Rams up one and only 5.4 left, Tyler Ward got the rebound and tipped the ball back in to give Scott City the three point lead.
"I thought we had time left in regulation," said Delta head coach Robert Stein. "I thought we at least had enough for a tip. I thought that we matched up well with them tonight and I hope that Bradshaw and Schlosser are both okay. They are both good kids."
The Rams will next be in action at Chaffee on Friday night. Delta will travel to Zalma Friday night to do battle with the Bulldogs.